July 9, 2011
October 12, 2010
It’s been over a week and I am still basking in the afterglow of the New York Burlesque Festival. May I just say it was an amazing experience and I highly suggest more people check it out. I bought the 4-day pass and also took three classes on Sunday which cost a pretty penny, but made the experience all-encompassing and completely wonderfully overwhelming. It was great to have an entire 4 day weekend devoted to burlesque.
Thursday was the teaser party at Brooklyn Bowl. The night was broken into 4 acts, the first 2 hosted by the World Famous *Bob* and the remaining 2 by Albert Cadabra. there were so many great performers that night, and every night, so I don’t have the stamina to write about all of them. I will say I was very impressed with the ‘boylesque’ that night including Paco Fish, Go-Go Harder Faster Stronger and Brad Scolbie. All did fantastic acts and blew me away. The night was complete by dancing into the wee hours with Hazel Honeysuckle, Kita St. Cyr and Cheeky Lane while ?uestlove DJed.
Friday was the premiere party at the Bell House. This show had no intermissions, which I was not expecting, so the long time without sitting was a little tough in my corseted dress. It was still a great show and the host, Scott the Blue Bunny was hilarious, a great mix of sarcasm and insults that kept the audience alive for the whole show. The act to note for the night was Little Brooklyn, who is pregnant and showing. One might think that this would deter people from performing, but Little Brooklyn, the NY legend that she is, embraced it and performed an act where she started nude and different well-known NY neo-burlesque performers came one by one and dressed her in a touching and tear producing sort of burlesque baby shower. By the time Little Brooklyn turned around to show her stomach, I was all emotional and the music box version of “Missing You” (the Aerosmith song) only made it that much more poignant.
Saturday was the Saturday Spectacular at B.B. King’s (times square). This night was hosted by Murray Hill and boasted some of the top acts in the burlesque world. I was lucky enough to sit at a VIP table with Ruby Valentine, Pat (of Pat & Tony) and B. B. Heart (who I commiserated over the lack of vegan food options with) which made the night even more fun. The acts were great and the fact that I got to see so many acts from around the world in one show was quite exciting and fulfilling. The part I was really excited about was to experience Murray Hill as a host. Mr. Showbiz himself, Murray Hill is a fantastic host, walking the line between persona and sincerity that makes you wonder where the quick wit comes from, become jealous of his charm but also want to just sit down and shoot the schtick with him.
Sunday was the Golden Pastie awards. This one was held the Highline Ballroom but since I arrived late most of the tables were already full and I had to join strangers in the VIP section. Different categories are selected each year and the voting was done online. I was happy to see some of my burlesque acquaintices snag a golden paste and it inspired me to keep working in the burlesque world so maybe one day I’d win one. The host on Sunday was Lady Astrid, whose overly sarcastic and unenthused German persona was great to watch laugh with as she mocked the audience and peroformers. This night also held an amazingly poignant moment when Tigger! came on stage to talk about the recent string suicides by LGBT youth due to bullying. A candle light memorial was being held in Washington Square park, so the NYBF had a little moment of silence, which quickly turned into a raucous tribute and message to the youth that it gets better – with Lady Astrid singing “Don’t Stop Believing” as the queer burlesque performers got on stage and danced and the audience all belted out the lyrics. It was a very burlesque way of telling gay and queer youth that there is at least one coommunity that will accept you, and it is quite a fabulous community at that!
ps- Sunday morning I took 3 classes at the NY School of Burlesque. The first one, which I sadly arrived late to due to an emergency, was done by Indigo Blue, the head of the Seattle Burlesque school, about how to convey more expression while performing. If you want to know and see more of Indigo Blue, check out the documentary A Wink and A Smile which shows her as she teaches several ladies in her 8 week burlesque class. You can stream it instantly on Netflix if you have it. The second class was by Dirty Martini which was about strutting and walking on stage. You can see more of Dirty Martini in the french film Tournee which should be coming out in America soon. The final class was the Ultimate Self confidence class by the World Famous *Bob*. This class was an introspective look at yourself and is for performers and non-performers a like. I’d highly suggest any of these classes to others.
August 31, 2010
Last wednesday I went to the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan to support and see my friend Cheeky Lane do her debut. She had come over two night earlier to practice, so I knew it was a solid act, but man was it impressive. Cheeky’s debut was part of the new York School of Burlesque’s Student Showcase, the same kind of showcase I had debuted in. Man that feels so long ago…..
But enough about me, checkout Cheeky! Here she is in part of her outfit for her debut act. Flippin sweet, right? Cheeky makes sets and props by day, so her artistry is pretty solid. You can check out her blog which she recently started here or her artists blog here.
June 24, 2010
This past Saturday I woke up early (well early for a Saturday morning) and headed over towards Bushwick for a pin-up workshop with Dale Rio. This workshop, which was set up through the New York School of Burlesque, used to be a three day class, but for this special workshop we went from 10am-6pm and went over the history of pin-ups, talked about how to do retro hair, makeup, and ended with photo shoots for each student.
The night before the class I went for a manicure and then packed my large suitcase full of props, outfits, makeup, curling irons and shoes in preparation for the class. The suitcase ended up being pretty heavy which only made it that much worse when I got lost, several times on the way to Studio Noir where the class was being held. Saturday was a pretty steamy day in New York City, so I was a sweaty mess by the time I showed up! The studio was a couple of floors up so I lugged my suitcase up the steps, collapsed into a chair and prepared for an amazing day.
There were four students in the class, including myself, so we ended up getting very personalized treatment and attention. Cheeky Lane was also in the class as well as another burlesque lady, Tess Truehart, and another girl who was just interested in pin-up and burlesque. After learning about the history of pinup (from geishas to modern day ladies like Dita Von Teese) we took a lunch break. The photographer led us to a local coffee shop where we stocked up on drinks, to stay hydrated in the heat, and a quick bite to keep up our energy till the end of the class. It was during this time that I heard Dale, the photographer, get really excited about the coffee shop selling vegan brownies. ”Are you vegan?” I excitedly asked. When she said yes, I gave a ‘team vegan’ high five and we gushed about vegan baked goods and food in the city.
When we got back to the studio we went over hair and makeup techniques and each of us started getting camera ready. Once everybody got into their first outfit for shooting, we closed the studio door and turned on the professional lighting. Holy falafel did it get hot! Despite the fans going in the room, all of us were sweating like nobody’s business. In between outfits, I quick ran to the bathroom which was cooler so I could mop off the sweat, touch up my makeup, switch outfits and adjust hairstyles.
During the shooting part of the class I ended up getting to do three different styles: my retro polka dot swim suit, a long black mermaid style dress and black pillbox hat, and a crazy punk/sci fi mish mash full of comics and ridiculous styling. (For the record, that long black dress was actually my senior prom dress, so it was pretty fun to put it on 8 years later and totally rock it- again) Originally Dale said we would get them out to us in a few weeks, but a few days later she said that they were so fun and came out so well, she made them top priority and we should get them by the end of the week. Hopefully, that post will come sometime this weekend!
As we were packing up after the shoot, I talked about wanting to go to Foodswings while in that area of Brooklyn and Dale was totally down. I invited everybody from the class but in the end it ended up just being Cheeky, Dale and me. I got a gyro, Dale got mac and cheese and Cheeky got some cheese fries, and it was all glorious. We talked about the local burlesque scene, photography, roller derby and how good the food tasted.
Before long it was time to head out and we all headed back to the subway where we later went our separate ways. Although I was saddened the day was over, I have since been an email contact with Dale, helping her find people to do shoots with in Philly (where she has moved) and have secured an interview with her that will show up tomorrow on this blog!
June 20, 2010
NOTE: I hate that these updates are so far behind, my apologies. Hopefully next week will be much calmer and I can play catchup on the exciting going ons of my burlesque world adventures.
So, over a week ago, the ever so wonderful Jezebel Express sent me an email saying choreography class was canceled for Sunday, but that she was getting interviewed and taped for a Brazilian television show instead. Since I was a loyal student, she asked if I would like to come be a background person while they taped her teaching the host of the tv show. Of course I didn’t want to miss out my chance to be on Brazian television, so I headed over on Sunday to get in on the action.
Since I had just had the haircut the previous day, I was still figuring out how to style it. Now that is it shorter in the front I was totally able to do the Rosie the Riviter hair do I’ve longed to pull off for awhile now. I got to the dance studio where the filming would happen, glammed myself up in the bathroom, and went back where Jezebel and the tv people were setting up.
I am still a bit unsure of exactly who or what this Brazilian television show is called, but it is for the channel Globo, which is basically equivalent to NBC in America. Now Globo is a television show for Brazilians, but is also broadcasted in Canada, so I was not sure where this segment would be shown. The show follows the host as she investigates the different ways love & lust manifest themselves in culture. The previous night the host had attended a burlesque show and was now in the studio to learn some dance techniques from Jezebel. Along with myself, Cheeky Lane and Kita St Cyr were the other classmates in shoot.
The actual “class’ just went over how to walk sexy in heels, isolations, bump-n-grind, and clothing removal. After this, the host interviewed each of us about what got us interested in burlesque and how we’ve used out burlesque movement knowledge so far. I answered about the theatricality of burlesque and my love of getting to create and become new characters. Also, when asked if it was all on stage or if I moved it into the bedroom, I explained that the burlesque is for the stage in my world, but the confidence it brings me I use everyday all the time. I guess I’ll be excited if I ever get to see a clip of the show to see if I am in it, but I also feel like this may have just been a fun thing to throw out into the world whether or not I get to enjoy seeing myself on the screen.
May 22, 2010
I know I have been slacking blog wise, but I swear I have been busy! This past week centered around getting my act together and really nothing else. I was sewing fringe and sequins for most of the week, listening to the song on repeat, and dancing (or dancing in my mind) at work, at home and on the train. Since I had finished almost all of the costume early on thursday, I even went down to practice with my friend and fellow NY school of burlesque student, Cheeky Lane.
Friday I left work early, but that still only gave me 45 minutes to try and get my hair and makeup done. My partner and I then ran to the subway and also had to take a cab so I could get there on time. A bit winded and nervous I put on my fake eye lashes, finished my hair, and got dressed. The dressing room at the Slipper Room is very small (well for now, who knows what it will be like after the renovations) and Jo Boobs (Weldon), Gal Friday, Fem Appeal, Veronica Varlow, Lefty Lucy, Calamity Chang and Gemini Rising, plus myself, all had to try and use it. Gemini was the other “debuting student” that night, though she had already performed once before, so I was technically the only virgin performer there. We chit chatted and wished each other luck on our very special last student showcase before the Slipper Room closed for renovations.
I did a few mimed run throughs with the curtain closed but soon it was time to start. Jo had me go first, which was nice because I could then get it out of the way and spend the rest of the evening getting to watch the others.
The performance went well, I think. While I was performing I was so focused on making sure I got all the clothes off at the right points and trying to make sure my face wasn’t blank from focusing too much. I had one clothing issue when my sequin belt didn’t come untied. So what did I do? I seductively slid it off, then kicked it up in the air, caught it, twirled it, and threw it to the side. Supposedly, this move was very impressive and got me lots of applause from the other performers backstage. I would tell you more about my performance, but I really can’t remember, it just went by so fast!
Once the curtain closed I frantically ran around and gathered all my clothes, except for the one glove I accidentally threw off stage, stuffed them in my bag, got changed into my little cherry dress, and watched the rest of the first act from backstage. The other ladies did great sets, all with a great comedic edge, that had us cheering and laughing backstage. For the second act, I sat out in the audience with my partner and watched. Fem Appeal had Gemini and I come on stage and dance for part of her Isaac Hayes act, and soon after, the show was over. Jo had us all onstage for a curtain call and then it was time to clean up all my supplies from backstage and take a seat for the second show of the night full of all new performers.
Whew, it was a great experience and I am excited for my next chance to perform. I came home that night already planning out new acts and routines for the future!
May 11, 2010
On Saturday Cheeky Lane and I headed to China town to find me fans. Yesterday I shopped the garment district for fabric, bases and trim. Here is what these trips resulted in:
Almost all of these items has some plan behind the purchase. Now whether or not these intended plans will actually happen is a different story.
The fans are for the non-feather fans I need to make for next week’s Burlesque essentials class. I’m not sure what fabric would work for it, but I bought a few just in case.
That big pile of brown fake fur will be going towards a specific costume idea. Still to be determined if it will have any kind of trim or not. Also, I need to sew a corset (no boning) which will be quite a challenge.
Because of these momentous purchases and tasks, I’ve decided on Saturday I will actually pull out my sewing machine and get to work on starting to put together costumes. Now, it may seem like a lot of work, but it can’t be too much compared to the pain in the butt my star bra was. You may remember me talking about this bra from a previous entry. Well, I have finished the stars, which were quite a task that I worked on while on the train, at home and on breaks during my job. Not sure if I will add any fringe to it or not. I guess we will see what the weekend has in store!